Constitutional amendment could save the state time and money

Published: Oct. 24, 2019 at 5:25 PM CDT
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The state says a constitutional amendment you'll decide on the November ballot would not only make drawing new legislative boundaries faster, it would also save money.

Currently, after the census is counted, the state spends thousands of dollars finding out if someone wants to be counted where they live now, or somewhere else.

The Kansas Constitution currently says the Secretary of State is required to ask that question to every college student and military member living in the state after the census is done every 10 years. The constitutional amendment on the ballot would change that.

"One, it saved the office 834-thousand dollars. We get the census numbers to the redistricting committee in the statehouse a lot faster so they can get on with redistricting," said Secretary Scott Schwab.

Aside from saving money, it would also ensure college and military communities like Manhattan, can count their long-term soldier and student families.

"Hit that 50,000 threshold, it is really important from a federal government perspective because we receive things like community development block grant funds from the federal government because we reach that population threshold," said Jared Wasinger, Assistant to the Manhattan City Manager.

Some lawmakers did not support the amendment because of how it could affect redistricting.

"There's going to be some districts that move. We have some areas that are growing like Garden city is growing. You have some areas like out by Colby that are not growing. Johnson County is growing. Wyandotte County is growing with what they've got development wise. Topeka, they've got some development going on too. So how that works out is completely up to the legislature what they want to do," Schwab detailed.

He says using the actual numbers from the census will also make sure those areas that see fluctuating populations will be more accurately represented in the long run.

"So when you re-district, it has every representative representing the same number of people. Remember this doesn't have to do with registered voters. It has to do with people that were counted in the census," said Schwab.

The constitutional amendment is the only state wide question.

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